Performance: SUVs don’t have to be boring

When you think of SUVs, it is easy to think about a boosted sedan body with bigger tyres, a bunch of extra weight and similar engine size, meaning power-to-weight...

When you think of SUVs, it is easy to think about a boosted sedan body with bigger tyres, a bunch of extra weight and similar engine size, meaning power-to-weight ratio goes south, in an effort to provide more space and visibility. Those assumptions need to be reset when we consider a different powerplant. Powered by an all-electric drivetrain, the Tesla Model X offers all of the positives without the negatives.

While the batteries have a significant impact on the scales, that’s more than compensated for by the power those batteries deliver. The best way to describe the experiencing of driving the Model X is that it drives like a performance sports sedan, rather than your typical SUV that has softer suspension for a smoother ride over the bumps. You spot a corner, turn in and accelerate out with traction control ensuring maximum power is delivered to each wheel.

The immediate power delivery is the massive difference here. There’s no turbo to spool up or gears to shift through, just plant the foot and go. This also makes the Model X one of the easiest high-performance vehicles to drive.

The P100D variant delivers power to all wheels and races the car from 0-100km/hr in just 3.1 seconds and continues on to a top speed of 250km/hr. That really is supercar quick, in a sleeper body, it’d be well at home in either category on the second season of Netflix’s Fastest Car.

Vehicle performance is typically paralleled with a lot of ambient noise from the engine and through the exhaust. The driving experience of the Model X is something different entirely, despite offering superior power, when you plant your foot, the car remains quiet, just a subtle, futuristic electric whir, with the cabin volume remaining seriously low. This reduction in noise makes conversations in the vehicle much simpler between occupants, enabling you to talk at normal volumes, even under peak acceleration or down the highway at 110km/hr. It does take some time to mentally leave behind the entrenched correlation between noise and speed, but when dealing with EVs, your mind has to be reset.

When you upgrade your family to an SUV, it often means you surrender the excitement from driving, but Tesla have proved that doesn’t have to be the case. The Model X offers its occupants loads of room and combined frunk and trunk storage (3rd row seats folded down) offers plenty of storage, while delivering on-demand smiles, anytime you want it.

Now for the proof. Recorded under controlled conditions, the Model X launches immediately, propelling the car forward car forward with all 4 wheels. Powered by the P100D’s dual electric motors (on in the front and and one at the rear of the vehicle), combined with software-defined traction control, delivers all the power to the road, everytime without fus. This level of acceleration means you’ll actually welcome the next red light, as it provides another opportunity to feel the g-forces take over your body and a satisfying grin on your face. Just a word of warning, the power available here is ridiculously addictive.

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Vehicles

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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